Thursday, October 31, 2019

DBH That All Shall Be Saved: Another Heretical Review

A few days ago I had a crazy idea. I wanted to spend roughly two minutes thumbing in a review of David Bentley Hart's latest (theological) book, That All Shall Be Saved. (I say this because he released a delightful children's book shortly after its release.) My review is nothing special. Although, admittedly, I'm the only person I know of in the cosmos whose basic disagreements with DBH, where found (which are not many), are slightly endorsed, albeit in a cheeky way, by himself in the book, and yet simultaneously and bombastically denounced within the same pages.

Perhaps, when all of the ridiculous invectives against Hart and the unapologetically childish cries  about the "heresy" of Apokatastasis across social media become a faded memory over the next year, I will muster enough energy to write a detailed, chapter by chapter response, showing that my own heretical critique is actually as reasonable, if not more so, than Hart's. 

But for now, this brief review will have to do. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Recipe for Pastor Theologians

It’s not magic
It’s gospel
It’s the true presence of Christ in us
Walk with congregations
Illuminate the implications
Tend his sheep
With one eye on their heart
One eye on their digital parousia
We must lead 
To profane the techno drug
To cherish our tribe instead
Don’t just wish to form them
Deliver our good news to form them
Get lost in the like 
It was meant to save us 
Not to fame us
And share buttons
About our faith
We worship one Deity 
Equal in glory
Coeternal in majesty
Trinity of Unity
The what of Father is 
The what of Son is 
The what of Holy Spirit is
Spiraling out
Keep going 
Absolution lays in accurately reciting these verses 
Simsalabim Bamba Saladu Saladim
Don’t block the means to the end
No tablet or smartphone can compare 
To the refulfillment
We take and eat
In the Supper
Remembering the history 
Remembering the tendency
Moving and making 
Liturgy into magic 
Rainbows and warbows
Its modality calls us
Paying attention to the how
Of the gathered church
Of the assembly 
Of those coming together 
In creed
In crown
In covenant
The antidote of our distraction 
Let us read deeply
Between the lines
Between the leis
Between the lies
Misunderstanding us
Choking us
Decaying this embodiment of the us
When we gather
Like eagles
Christ is truly present in it
We too should be truly present in this gospel
With our people in its magic

Sunday, October 13, 2019


My sentence is for peace
Yet theirs is for open war: of wiles
Drink in my answers
A shelter of worthless lies and half truths
Trailing down my catabaptist gutters
Eating away bellies of insanity like a cancer
Or feast your eyes instead on their spread of metaphysical absurdities
Polluted by oversimplification and arbitrariness 
Repellant to sound reason and beautiful taste
Masquerading as the most terrifying tradition of the One
Thrice holy, omnipotent, and boundlessly good
Toward those sketched from all eternity
Glorious, supreme, and boundlessly cruel
Toward all those enlightened sociopaths 
With their appendage of the trinity in hand
And sacred tradition placarded across phylacteries 
Selectively following a democracy of the dead
Alongside peer reviewed pressure of tenured tracks 
Comfortably acquiescing to the dictates of infernalists and sacrificialists
One, holy, catholic and apostolic creed is all 
They need or want in common
Go and disciple all nations
They all insist
Baptize them into our quadrinity
Some demur
The kosmos must commune with our version of Divinity
They all genuflect 
Some kind of apostolic succession must be retained 
Our paperback version of sacerdotalism must be preserved
Just don’t call it that
Instead, call it giving obsequium religiosum
But don’t say it to them in Latin
That’ll send the wrong signal
And the gnostics might gain the advantage 
Slide it into our confession as an explanation of our creed
Heaven forbid they win the war
Heterodoxy and heresy must be brought to ruin 
Arians, Marcionites, Pelagians, and Catholics galore
All need the essential good of our glorious gospel 
That our benevolent and omnipotent Deity Has destined them
To everlasting splendor or unending torture
Those on the right will receive life unto ages of ages
Those on the left, unending punishment
For few, eternal life
For many, eternal destruction 
The wording of the Fourth person is abundantly clear
As it is tragically ironic 
And ironically tragic 
Eternal life or eternal judgment
So say we all
Eternal life or eternal fire 
So say we all
Eternal life for those who seek for immortality
Death for those seeking selfish hostility and rivalry
Disobeying the real while obeying injustice instead
So say we all
To the former, eternal honor and glory are distributed 
The latter are cast away from God’s presence and the glory of his might
Consciously tormented forever
So say we all
So fear not those who can kill the body but not the soul
Fear the One who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna
In the Resurrection from the dead-ones
God will give us all bodies so that we cannot die or be destroyed
If our lord says it
We must believe it 
And that settles it
So say we all
What more shall I say?
For time would fail me to tell of Jephthah and the prophets
Who were commended through their faith 
What matters now is knowing the standard set before us
Let’s not challenge it enough
To lose our jobs
Or credibility
Among the masses
Scholars agree 
There once was a time 
When the Deity dwelt among them
So they jotted down their collective encounter 
With this monstrosity 
Schools of scribes and redactors had their reasons 
For sculpting what remained of vellum and parchment
Professors and Pastors have their reasons too
They will provide the much needed apodoses if we agree with their protases
Anomalous constructions are everywhere throughout the pericope 
Adding admirable grist to the mill of any narrator
Desiring to craft a story capable of more than one meaning 
But their cleaning and scraping and gluing and standardizing is just 
Another adventure in missing the point
The sacrificialists suffer the same as infernalists in this way
An alleged unbroken succession of interpretation
The scribal traditions we train for today are as reliable 
As the plain meaning we regurgitate
So we are taught to believe 
So say we all
The Olah is a sacrifice that is wholly consumed by fire
That’s what it means 
That’s why we translate it as a whole burnt offering
That’s what our lord teaches us
So say we all
Our lexicons make no allowance for purely figurative usage 
Beyond the bounds of the book
An ascension to the holy mountain is not an option
The meaning is obvious
So say we all
Deflecting attention away 
From the narrative arc of the judges 
Its unique emphasis with immediate predecessors and successors 
With numerous progeny 
Yet he had more than a favorite
He had only one child and heir to a dynasty 
That’s why the vow mattered so much
All successors and predecessors are tempted with dynastic aspirations
We are not told this explicitly
Or are we? 
We cannot believe that 
Or can we? 
All such temptation was removed by God 
We can only believe what the text plainly means
So say we all
The end result is the same anyway
Some think she was to die unmarried and childless 
Others think she was to die unmarried and childless 
The timing of the death is what varies
One occurs over the course of time 
After a full life is lived without child
The other occurs in just two months
So that a full life cannot be lived with child
The lawfulness of the vow matters too
Can one vow to murder another or offer human sacrifice
Yet expect God to not hold him accountable?
We shouldn’t ask such questions 
Let’s pony up to the real horror of the story 
This righteous man was confused
He made a vow and was supposed to stick with it 
The same infernalist demanding Deity would certainly hold him to it
So say we all
Let’s not try to paint a prettier picture of the man than what he really was
So say we all
A sinner and unsophisticated rustic
In need of grace 
In need of that great Sermon on the Mount
To keep him from taking an oath at all
So say we all
Yet he made a vow and must keep it
Or else 
The most high God would ...
The text doesn’t say
But he certainly believed God would have 
So say we all
All primitives of that generation thought as much 
So say we all
Even Jesus said don’t vow at all
Because if you do you must keep it no matter what
So say we all
Let your yes be yes and your no be no
Anything more comes from the evil one
So say we all
Forget about the plague that broke out after Mesha sacrificed his firstborn
So say we all
If our lord said it
We must believe it 
And that settles it
So say we all
But what about those who felt a need to save her from being murdered? 
What about the Torah forbidding human sacrifice?
Aren't such vows invalid according to Leviticus?
Silence, Catabaptist
It was legal in Jephthah’s time
So say we all
Plus he was likely unaware of such Torah 
So say we all
Like the Ammonites who regularly practiced human sacrifice
If surrounding elohim required it
So did Israel’s Elohim
So say we all
But no one attempted to save the child 
As with Saul’s rash vow and action toward Jonathan
I said silence
That’s beside the point 
So say we all
What about their celebration of the Deity’s victories? 
So say none at all
This is no celebration
This is an annual event of mourning
The fact is clear enough 
A literal sacrifice was commemorated 
The human sacrifice was extraordinary 
So say we all
Artemis would only grant a favorable wind 
If the prophet’s word was kept
So say we all
The vow was made
Therefore the most beautiful thing must be summoned
So say we all
To eternal death, then judgement
So say we all
To unending, conscious, bodily agonies in the Lake
So say we all
But such was not the case for the only child on Moriah
Narrated in reverse 
Offered up as an Olah
There the sacrifice was required
There the father prepared to obey 
There the extraordinary faith was demonstrated 
There the lamb was provided in his place
There the Deity vowed to provide countless descendants 
Therefore Jephthah is the real phenomenon
So say we all
Like Abram
The true disciple of Deity
Like Abram
Waging war on His behalf 
Like Abram
Calling upon Him to judge between Israel and the nations
Like Abram
And the Spirit of YHWH came upon Jephthah
And he passed through Gilead and Manasseh
And he passed through Gilead of Mizpah
And from Gilead of Mizpah he passed through Ammon
And he—Jephthah—made a vow to YHWH
But Jephthah was a complete buffoon
So say we all
A man like the surrounding fools of goyim 
So say we all
He shouldn’t have made that vow
So say we all
Oh the tragedy and irony of each generation
Preferring the advice of Moloch over Belial
Swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated Night

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Dance

Thank you for welcoming me back into your home
Thank you for watching my kiddos 
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for raising the best daughter imaginable
Thank you for being a shining example of hospitality
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness 

Thank you for modeling to her what it is to be a godly and virtuous mother
Thank for modeling to me the kind of motherhood I never knew and wish I always had
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for being patient with me these past few years
Thank you for allowing time for redemption and healing
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for considering others more than yourself
Thank you for your empathy toward the weak and vulnerable
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness 

Thank you for inviting my mother into your home
Thank you for spending time with her
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for sharing part of your day with her
Thank you for introducing my children to her
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for telling her your story
Thank you for allowing me to share mine
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for listening to her sincerely
Thank you for leading her to my door, a half-mile away
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for not letting me know
Thank you for telling my wife about it after it had passed
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Please allow me to express my own appreciation
Please allow me to make one request
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Since you appreciate redemption so much
Since I no longer have a mother who will ever be seen again
Please consider another mother whom we both love

This mother cries openly and inconsolably at every wedding 
As I do at the thought of never seeing my mother again
Waiting nearly twenty years with no opportunity for redemption

Hoping and praying for just one chance
This mother loves greatly because she had a lovely model for motherhood
This mother wants nothing more than to have that dance she was robbed of by a mother

It can be any day
In any room
At any time

Blue Moon
Standing alone
With the love of my own

Just one dance
That first dance
Between us all

I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Friday, October 4, 2019

Between the liens

I wear my emotions on my sleeves
I'm as transparent as it gets
What you see is what you get
Correct me if i'm wrong

Whence did I receive rationalizations galore of righteous indignation?
I got my foolish zeal from you
There I inherited my infatuation for justice

And my great pride?
My boldness in the face of evil?

My extraordinary self-confidence?

All from your example
My phobias come from her 
My pushiness from her
All empathy from her 
My pity from her
My cunning—all hers

Nobody knows as much as you though
She was severely mentally ill
You were completely and stubbornly sane
Her illness would manifest a complete manipulative two-faced bitch at calculated times
You were just a self-aggrandized asshole caring more about the prized stallion more than tony the pony

She received treatments for a time, and then adamantly refused because she was fucking crazy
You never received correction or ever accepted therapy though
Your excuse? 
You didn’t want to lose your kids

Your excuse?
There were no counselors Christian enough for you
Your excuse? 

Secular psychologists couldn’t or wouldn’t empathize with you
Her excuse? 

Does she even need one? 

She was sick
Her natural personality was triune
The frenzied wrath of a father, the fleeting wind-likeness of spirit, and passibility of the son all wound together in one flesh

She was fucked up
She was literally insane most of my life

But you? 

You’re a prized stallion
You’re a former athlete 
You’re a soldier and patriot
You’re sovereign and national
You’re a prophet, priest, and king
You’re a martyr, shepherd, preacher
You’re now a doctor, too

A man after God’s own heart
Look at what you built
Look at what you defended 
Behold what you have sustained 
Your career of presuppositionalist herem had much success
Like the late great Mr. Pink

Sipping communion at home until his dying day because no one was as prized as he was
No one sustained what he had
Not one soul on earth fought tyranny and built walls of estrangement as high as him
Praise Obama 
Remember that letter of her excommunication that my brother and I wrote? 

Me neither
I remember you writing the whole thing and telling us to lie for you to the session 
Remember how good at chemistry, and math, and history I was? 
Me neither

I didn’t have to be
You either left the answer key lying around or you were too busy building God's kingdom to follow through with love and attention
You left all that for an insane woman to take care of—absolutely brilliant

Why did I become an addict at age fifteen? 
She bought me cartons of cigarettes

Bribing me to steal from you

You modeled resentment and bitterness
You sculpted an image of war propheteering
You recited the grace of God's Law
You delivered the real goods nobody else would
You denounced all cowards for their pablum

Whose habits do you think contributed most?
Perhaps that's a false dichotomy?
The great irony of puritans is that they can’t r/e/a/d
The great tragedy: they insist they can

Because they know they’re clever
And they truly are
They wave their God-in-paperback around in ways that would still make John Knox proud

Upon the first blast of the trumpet
Against the monstrous regiment of women

She received the capital punishment you thought she deserved

To which is added
The contents of the second blast

You became sovereign and she became homeless

Death is right here—Be sober o soul, and read between the liens

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Memory Eternal (my wings part two)

All day I played Wings Part Two on repeat
I didn’t want to hear anything else
Just tears poured out whenever I imagined
You were the light and the way they only read about
I didn’t start the day expecting it to become this way 
I left the post office and opened your purse
I hadn’t seen your face since I was nineteen
And now all I could see was your smile
I wish I had seen it in person since then
I remember it, but from too long ago
I wish I had just one more glance
Or better yet, one hug and kiss
And one for Alison, my angel, too
And one for Jadon, Eden, and Gaius
Or better yet, to spend a whole day with all of us together
To welcome you into my own home
To share a meal or two together
To hear your voice resound
To gaze at your smile next to me
To even cry together
I’m sure there would have been lots of tears
I would have been there holding you in my arms 
But I wasn’t ever given that chance
A son can dream, can’t he? 
I miss you so much
And yet I don’t even know the you in the driver’s license 
Other than what my teenage self last recollected
I’m so happy to have received your little notebook though
I immediately recalled your distinctive cursive handwriting 
It didn’t change a bit over the last two decades
Maybe my strong opinions about cursive need to change
And your faith in the Lord didn’t change either
I can imagine a certain someone still asking, “What faith?”
Forget about him
His faith only has a dozen followers
But yours has the hosts of heaven 
“Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord
To what end is it for you?
The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light
Read verses twenty one and twenty two
God himself is saying these verses!”
I didn’t want to read anything else
Just tears poured out whenever I considered
You were the light and the way they only read about
I couldn’t leave the post office 
I stayed parked far beyond my fifteen minute sign limit
Just weeping and praying
More weeping than praying though
Eventually I went to work and didn’t accomplish much
Because I was thinking about your smile and your cursive notes
What an incredible sight to behold
Such a sincere and childlike faith
Not even the most severe tempests of life could loosen your grip
“Hate the evil, and love the good
And establish judgment in the gate
It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph
The prudent shall keep silence in that time
For it is an evil time”
You held on to the very end through an evil time
Which began when he divorced you for another
I wasn’t in a good place to know any better at that time
So please forgive me
And recovery without you was much needed
But now that nearly two decades have passed
All I could recall from him was the mantra
You were to blame, not him
You ruined everything
He needed a secretary
You were demon possessed 
You were the problem
He needed a virtuous wife and never had one
You abandoned him
You were not merely ill
Because illness wasn’t a just enough ground for him
Yet from what the Sheriff mentioned over the phone
According to others in Aberdeen, you were still known to be mentally ill
And in ways just like I remember you being
But that simple, sincere smile of yours still catches me off guard
And your handwritten notes still overwhelm me 
You remained filled with the faith of a child all these years
“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live
And so the Lord the God of hosts shall be with you”
Yet I had no way of knowing this sincere faith of yours all these years
Because you were nowhere to be found
You were remembered as the self proclaimed victim and martyr, abandoned and unloved
And no one taught us how to consider some validity to that
Tears just pour out because I now realize
You were the light and the way they only read about